Vaccine Directive for Federal Contractors Blocked Nationwide

Allen Smith, J.D. By Allen Smith, J.D. January 28, 2022
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a vaccinated patient and a medical professional

[This article was updated Jan. 28.]

On Dec. 7, another Biden administration vaccine directive was blocked nationwide—this time the requirement that federal contractors and subcontractors require their employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19. We've gathered articles on the news from SHRM Online and other media outlets.

Georgia District Court: President Exceeded Authority

In blocking the requirement, a federal district court in Georgia said, "Even in times of crisis this court must preserve the rule of law and ensure that all branches of government act within the bounds of their constitutionally granted authorities. Indeed, the United States Supreme Court has recognized that, while the public indisputably has a strong interest in combating the spread of [COVID-19], that interest does not permit the government to act unlawfully even in pursuit of desirable ends."

The court concluded that the plaintiffs likely will succeed in their claim that the president exceeded the authorization given to him by Congress through the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act when issuing the executive order requiring federal contractors and subcontractors to mandate vaccinations among their employees. The government contractor directive spurred a series of lawsuits from states seeking to block its implementation, including Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Oklahoma and Texas.

(Bloomberg)

Ruling Clarified

The district court subsequently clarified that its ruling did not block the masking or physical distancing requirements of the executive order.

(The National Law Review)

Requirement Originally Blocked in Three States

The vaccine requirement for federal contractors originally was temporarily blocked in three states on Nov. 30 by a federal district court in Kentucky.

"Can the president use congressionally delegated authority to manage the federal procurement of goods and services to impose vaccines on the employees of federal contractors and subcontractors?" the Kentucky district court asked. "In all likelihood," it continued, "the answer to that question is no." The district court's opinion applied to Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee, which brought suit challenging the directive.

(SHRM Online)

Supreme Court Rulings

The U.S. Supreme Court blocked the Biden administration's vaccine-or-testing directive for large employers on Jan. 13. However, the Supreme Court lifted the stay on a vaccination directive for health care providers that are Medicare or Medicaid recipients.

(SHRM Online)

New York City Requires Vaccines at All Private-Sector Employers

New York City required all private-sector employers in the city to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for their workers as of Dec. 27. The requirement was intended to prevent a spike in COVID-19 infections during the holiday season and colder months, Former Mayor Bill de Blasio said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." Mayor Eric Adams has decided to continue the requirement during his tenure.

(AP), (SHRM Online) and (The New York Times)

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